10 Reasons Why Malaysian Couples Need Family Planning

December 5, 2018

Magazines and newspapers shout out confusing and, often, opposite facts about it. And your friends, cousins, even your yoga teacher— all seem to perpetuate this confusion surrounding, “the Pill”.

Today, only a third of married Malaysian women are practicing modern contraceptive methods1. One of the major factors for low uptake of modern contraception methods by women is their lack of knowledge. In Asia, spouse’s disapproval and influence from mothers-in-law, peers and elders play a big part in women’s decision to use modern contraception. Additionally, perceived problems caused by these methods lead to a believe that they are unable to follow religious rituals.1

What are the different types of modern contraceptive methods?2

  • Pills – including combined oral contraceptives
  • Male and female condoms
  • Spermicides – usually in the form of a gel applied to the vagina prior to intercourse, that contains a substance which kills sperms
  • Male sterilization (vasectomy)
  • Female sterilization (tubal ligation)
  • Intra-uterine devices (IUDs)
  • Implants
  • Injectable
  • Making A Case For Family Planning

    It’s crucial to educate Malaysian women about the benefits, effectiveness and safety profiles of current methods of hormonal birth control. Since its introduction, contraceptives have helped women plan their pregnancies. Family planning helps women take control of their health and well-being, and the outcomes of subsequent pregnancies. This in turn has positive impact on their families.

    Family Planning Benefits For Women:

    1. Prevents pregnancy-related health risks – Pregnancy and the act of childbirth have inherent risks regardless of how “normal” it is.3 Family planning allows you to decide and prepare your body, mind and emotions to fully support a pregnancy. If you are at high-risk e.g. older age group, have medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, it further ensures that you are prepared and have taken necessary steps on how to manage your pregnancy by consulting your doctor.

    2. Prevents unintended pregnancies and therefore reduces the need for unsafe abortions.4

    3. Gives you the choice to limit the size of your family. Studies have shown that women with more than 4 children are at higher risk of maternal death due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth.4

    4. A report by the Guttmacher Institute determined that when women, especially younger women, had access to the pill as a family planning method, it increased the likelihood of women advancing their education, which in turn supports acquiring and securing professional jobs and economic stability.5

    Do you know studies have shown that unintended pregnancies may increase dissatisfaction and cause disruption in relationships? The change of unplanned additional responsibilities socially and economically within a family dynamic has been shown to disrupt the quality of relationships.5

    In a nutshell:

    The benefits of family planning are not only for women, but also for the whole family.

  • Physical, mental and emotional well-being for mothers and fathers.
  • Healthy babies who are given enough love and resources for a better and brighter future.
  • A stable family structure and dynamic – physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.
  • Family Planning Benefits For The Child

    6. Family planning may save your child's life when you use it to space your pregnancies to at least two years apart. Pregnancies that are too close together have been shown to increase infant mortality rates (rates of babies dying before the first year of life).3 This has been linked to a condition called “maternal depletion syndrome” that basically means your body is physically unable to support a healthy pregnancy and in turn a healthy baby.6 When births are spaced too close, your child is more likely to be premature, weak and have a low birth weight.

    7. Children whose parents practice family planning enjoy better resources.7 Children with fewer siblings have parents that are able to devote more time and financial resources which have a positive impact in their educational attainment and future.

    Family Planning Also Benefits Spouses

    8. Family planning not only brings economic stability to women, but to the men in the relationship. It gives them more time and resources to complete their education and aim at getting better jobs without the added responsibilities of being a father until ready to do so.5

    9. In today’s society where most couples intending to start a family both work, planning for a pregnancy and subsequent introduction of a child into the family dynamic means planning for childcare. The lack or support in childcare, including the financial resources or family support to provide childcare is one of the most quoted issues among couples.8

    Father figure: Unplanned families mean added responsibilities and stress to the men in the relationships as well. It may mean a poor quality relationship with the mother and less time with the children because of financial instability forcing them to be absent in the home due to extra work.8

    Improving health outcomes: Including men in family planning conversations could help drive the uptake of family planning.1 If your husband is educated about family planning, conversations around your health and birth control will only get easier.

    So, if having kids is not on your agenda, being on birth control is a journey that you can seriously consider. It’s your right to take control of your body and your life circumstances, and the time is now. Consult your doctor to find out more about the different methods of family planning.

    References:

    1. Najafi-Sharjabad F, Abdul Rahman H, Hanafiah M, Syed Yahya, SZ. Spousal communication on family planning and perceived social support for contraceptive practices in a sample of Malaysian women. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2014;19(7 Suppl 1):S19-S27. Available at Reference link Accessed on 19 September 2018.

    2. Najafi-Sharjabad F, Syed Yahya SZ, Abdul Rahman H, Hanafiah M, Abdul Manaf R. Barriers of modern contraceptive practices among Asian women: a mini literature review. Glob J Health Sci. 2013;5(5): 181-192. Available at Reference link Accessed on 19 September 2018.

    3. Family planning.org. Benefits of contraception use. Available at Reference link Accessed on 19 September 2018.

    4. World Health Organization. Family planning/contraception. Available at Reference link Accessed on 19 September 2018.

    5. Sonfield A, Hasstedt K, Kavanaugh ML, Anderson R. The social and economic benefits of women’s ability to determine whether and when to have children. 2013. New York: Guttmacher Institute. Available at Reference link Accessed on 19 September 2018.

    6. Davanzo J, Hale L, Razzaque A, Rahman M. The effects of pregnancy spacing on infant and child mortality in Matlab, Bangladesh: how they vary by the type of pregnancy outcome that began the interval. Popul Stud (Camb). 2008;62(2): 131-154. Available at Reference link Accessed on 19 September 2018.

    7. Population matters.org. The financial case for smaller families. Available at Reference link Accessed on 19 September 2018.

    8. Kavanaugh ML, Kost K, Frohwirth L, Maddow-Zimet I, Gor V. Parents’ experience of unintended childbearing: a qualitative study of factors that mitigate or exacerbate effects. Soc Sci Med. 2017;174:133-141. Available at Reference link Accessed on 19 September 2018

    PP-YAZ-MY-0053 -01(11/2018)

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